Angels on Earth: 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior

bastas2015-1Although our Minnesota weather may not admit it, it’s time to kick off the 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior® program! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is proud to announce we will set up trees around the Minneapolis area and ensure seniors who are alone or in need receive a gift this holiday season. As once described by a senior who has received a gift from us, the Be a Santa to a Senior® program “shows there are angels on earth!” Join us in our movement once again this year to ensure seniors feel the love and be a part of our campaign.

This program targets seniors in our community who may not otherwise receive gifts or visits from family during the holidays and was first launched by our parent organization in 2003. Partnering with local non-profit and community organizations, Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis identifies seniors who perhaps live alone, do not have family members nearby, or are experiencing financial difficulties and ensures they receive a little TLC during the holidays.

Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults. The Minneapolis, Minnesota Home Instead office has partnered with local non-profits such as East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, low income housing, and several nursing homes to offer gifts and companionship to seniors in need.

You can help us brighten a senior’s life too! Home Instead Minneapolis will set up the gift trees beginning November 14th in the local businesses and retail stores that are partnering with us. The participation of the busy retail stores allows for great visibility of the program and provides a convenient way for shoppers to be part of the gift giving during the holiday season. Here’s how it works:

Head to any of the following locations:

senior_giftsLocate the Christmas tree decorated with ornament tags within the store. Select any ornament tag where you will find a senior’s name as well as gift suggestions printed on the tag. The next steps are to purchase the item(s) listed, place them in a gift bag, return to the store where the ornament tag was selected and deliver the gift to a store employee. We would also be delighted to take any donations of money or gift cards to ensure each gift wish is filled. To ensure timely delivery of all gifts, please return donations to the store by December 12th.

Since this amazing program began in 2003, there have been over 60,000 volunteers who have helped distribute over 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 deserving seniors nationwide. Join our movement and make a senior’s holiday special.

Home Instead Minneapolis is thrilled to partner with several local fire stations. Relief associations, retired and off-duty firefighters from Hopkins, Golden Valley, Wayzata, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park fire stations are volunteering their time by picking up and storing the gifts. Once the gifts are all collected, they will also help deliver the gifts to the nursing homes, assisted living and senior apartment facilities in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. THANK YOU once again to the firefighters, retired members as well as spouses and family members for being involved with our Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign! We could not pull this off without you! We appreciate your partnership and your volunteer time.

At this time of year, there are so many gift programs aimed at children and families in need, but we can’t forget the seniors! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands there are many seniors in our local communities who have just as much need for a gift and companionship during the holidays, so join us and make a difference in the life of a senior!

For more information or to find a participating organization near you, visit the Be a Santa to a Senior® website and use the locator tool provided.

Senior Mealtime Challenges and a Fun Recipe Contest

Our primary concern, at Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis, is the well-being of seniors at home. Mealtimes can be very challenging for seniors, especially for those who no longer cook for two or more. In this post we will provide the results of a study performed by the Home Instead Senior Care Network on what seniors perceive as the biggest mealtime challenges, along with ideas for how to make mealtimes a more positive experience for the senior in your life.

mealsAlso, look for recipe contest details at the end of this post. Hurry and submit your best family recipes. The contest ends on September 15th 2011!

Mealtime Challenges

According to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care Network, seniors described their top 10 mealtime challenges. The following is the result of the Home Instead study, starting with the most reported mealtime challenge, along with ideas and tips for helping the senior in your life to have a more positive mealtime experience.

1. Lack of companionship during mealtimes (62%)

Tip: If you can’t be there to dine with your loved one regularly, look for alternative options such as friends and neighbors. Look into activities at churches, senior centers, and resource available at your local Area Agency on Aging and your local Home Instead Senior Care network.

2. Cooking for one (60%)

Tip: You can freeze almost any kind of leftovers, including sliced and seeded fruit, by placing it in plastic containers or freezer bags. Think about creating one-serving warm-up meals from left-overs, and finding healthy, low-sodium one-serving meals.

3. Eating nutritious meals (56%)

senior shoppingTip: Buying fresh produce, when possible, is a healthy choice and is also motivating. Alternatively, buy frozen fruits and vegetables, which retain nutrient content better than canned and processed foods. Plant a garden if your senior has the ability to tend to it.

4. Grocery shopping for one (56%)

Tip: Evaluate transportation choices or grocery delivery services to help your senior get the groceries needed for healthy meals. Make a shopping list of items that work well for making small meals. And consider contacting your local Home Instead Senior Care network regarding assistance that may help your senior with activities such as shopping and cooking.

5. Eating three meals a day (49%)

Tip: Create routine around mealtime. Set mealtimes to the clock. And, because so many medications must be taken at certain meals, it is helpful to coordinate mealtime with the medication plan.

6. High expense of cooking for one (45%)

Tip: Encourage your senior to share meals, check out the local senior center which may offer affordable meals for seniors, and look into Meals on Wheels.

7. Relying too much on convenience food (43%)

Tip: Your senior may need some guidance in reading labels and choosing healthy foods. Encourage your senior to meet with a nutritionist to learn how to read labels and make healthy choices.

nursing home8. Loss of appetite (41%)

Tip: Make mealtimes special and fun. Cook up a favorite recipe, help the senior create a favorite meal, and even put out the nice china and some nice décor.

9. Eating too much food (38%)

Tip: Help the senior to establish the right portion sizes, based on activity level. Make sure at least one or two of the items on the plate are fresh vegetables and fruits for overall health.

10. Eating too little food (35%)

Tip: As much as possible, ensure that the senior is getting exercise, which will encourage a healthy appetite. If not eating continues to be an issue, contact your senior’s doctor to discuss supplemental products to ensure proper nutrition.

Contest Details

Many family recipes come with a great story. Now here’s the chance to share yours. If you’re a family caregiver, get your mom or dad’s cookbook and pull out that favorite family recipe to enter in the Homemade MemoriesSM Recipe Contest. Then tell us in a short story what makes this dish so special. Visit to learn more about the contest and how your recipe could be a cash prize winner. The contest runs until September 15, 2011.